LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today The California Endowment in partnership with nine of America's leading foundations announced a joint effort with the White House to help America's young men of color reach their full potential in school, work and life. The foundations are the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, Kapor Center for Social Impact, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“All of our sons and brothers need support and opportunities to be successful,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment. “As tomorrow’s leaders, young people of color will help define America’s future. Now is the time to work together, invest in these young people, and provide them what they need to be responsible and healthy adults.”
In response to the urgent need for solutions, there has been a growing wave of investments to eliminate these barriers and help boys and young men of color connect to opportunity in communities nationwide. The ten foundations have recently approved or awarded $150 million to improve lifelong outcomes for boys and young men of color as part of their existing programming. Those foundations will seek to invest at least $200 million more, alongside additional investments from their peers in philanthropy and the business community.
The announcement is the latest milestone in a growing movement to ensure that all young people, including young men of color, have opportunities to achieve and contribute to the American dream.
“Our responsibility as policy makers is to ensure that every person in our society has the opportunities they need to make the most of their potential,” said Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). “Boys and men of color face unique challenges, in issues as varied as healthcare to the job market, and we must be thoughtful and proactive in addressing those challenges and ensuring that our sons and brothers have the opportunities they need to succeed.”
The Endowment’s partnership with the White House and other funders is part of a larger strategy by the foundation to give California’s sons and brothers the tools to lead healthy, productive lives. The Endowment in partnership with school districts, law enforcement officials, state and local elected officials, and community-based organizations, have developed successful, innovative programs that are improving the lives of young men of color.
For example, The Endowment has worked to prevent young men of color from being pushed out of school due to harsh school discipline policies. Through grantee LA’s Promise, which provides counseling and other supports to students at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, the school witnessed a 70 percent decrease in school days lost to suspension over three years and college acceptances doubled in two years.
In Stockton, Fathers & Families of San Joaquin (FFSJ) engages hundreds of youth in leadership development, mentoring activities and organizing, to ensure that men have the support they need to change the direction of their lives after release from the juvenile justice system. The results of the program are staggering – 90 percent of youth who receive FFSJ services do not return to the juvenile justice system.
Last October, the Endowment announced an unprecedented commitment of $50 million over the next seven years to make a difference for boys and young men across California with their Health Happens Here with all our Sons & Brothers Campaign.
Research shows that three critical markers are essential for health and success in life: 3rd grade reading, high school graduation, and postsecondary certification. The Sons & Brothers campaign focuses on these key milestones by supporting youth and parent leadership development efforts, community-school partnerships, and policy and systems changes at the local, state and national level.
The campaign is continuing to gain momentum. This week the Sons & Brothers (#sonsandbrothers) campaign was spotlighted at a celebration hosted by ESSENCE magazine and award-winning producer, director, actor, writer, and philanthropist Tyler Perry for Black Men in Hollywood, a celebration honoring leaders in the entertainment industry who serve as role models for young men of color. To symbolize support for this campaign celebrities are wearing a black rose lapel pin at this and other key events.
Over 70 percent of all Californians under age 25 identified as of color in the 2010 Census. Alarmingly, recent research has shown boys and young men of color face some stiff odds. Students who do not read proficiently by 3rd grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma and over 80 percent of our young black males cannot read at grade level by 3rd grade.
The Sons & Brothers campaign is a core part of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, a 10-year, $1 billion plan, in which residents in 14 places across California are working to transform their neighborhoods. The California Endowment has already been working to support common sense school discipline reform, restorative justice efforts to reduce youth involvement in the juvenile justice system and implementation of more school-based health centers to improve the long-term health and success of boys and young men of color.
About The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. Through its ‘Health Happens Here’ campaign and ten-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities, The Endowment is creating places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at www.calendow.org.